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Chic Cocktail Experiments in Paris

Chic Cocktail Experiments in Paris

The first cocktail I ever ordered in Paris was a bland mess. A Bloody Mary, sad and lonely sans celery, at a posh outdoor terrace in the 16th. After one sip of the robust tomato juice, I requested the spicy key ingredients of pepper, tabasco and Worcester, detectable only in trace amounts of my liquid Sunday brunch.

Tacky American? Perhaps. But as a former, college-era bartender and a native Angeleno proud that mixology is one of my hometown’s beaux-arts, my palette is fine tuned for haute cocktails. Although I am shamelessly unapologetic when it comes to seeking them out, I have been warned that this is no continent for cocktails. When I moved to Italy five years ago, I ordered a mojito that actually arrived at the table mintless! My boss at the time advised me to shut my gaping jaw lest flies swarm in and suggested maybe I should put my cocktailing days behind me. After all, this was wine country. It was time to take up with the tannins.

The same is true of France. You’d be hard-pressed (don’t you just love a good pun?) to find a culture that loves their grapes more. I admit my Euro-survival has been much easier since getting a bit of wine culture under my belt, but I’ve never ceased my quest for smooth, sexy alcotonics. And, I’m happy to report, my hunt has finally yielded some serious treasures.

bloodymary

Opened by nightlife trendsetters Pierre-Charles, Olivier and Romée a few years back, L’Experimental Cocktail Club and Le Prescription are two ultra-chic spots spearheading a 1920s speakeasy revival in Paris. With nondescript entrances and thick, dark velvet drapes secreting them from the streets, both bars serve up prohibition ambiance and drinks every bit as illicitly decadent as the era they conjure. L’Experimental Cocktail Club, in the hip Montorgueil quarter, is a golden-lit, minimalist tavern with a zinc bar, exposed stone walls and high, wood-beamed ceilings. Le Prescription, the newer of the two, is fashionably located in the 6th. With soft blue decor and patterned walls aglow in come-hither, amber light, Le Prescription calls up a sensual and clandestine, old New Orleans brothel vibe.

Experimental Cocktail Club - Interior

The minute I tasted Le Prescription’s Very Old Cuban, a sweet and tangy elixir of Havana rum, lime, sugar cane, mint, ginger, cordial, bitter and champagne, I remarked to my boyfriend who was in his own private ecstasy over the bar’s flaming, Polynesian rum-based Zombie (the exact ingredients are secret), that these were cocktails made with love. Over at L’Experimental Cocktail Club, Experience #1, a gorgeous concoction of Hendrick’s, elderflower cordial, lemongrass, lemon juice and fresh basil, has become my nectar of choice. With classics like the Manhattan and Mint Julep and sexy, innovative house cocktails alike, drinks at both bars are well worth their 10 – 12 euro price.

Luscious drinks and a cool, intimate vibe draw a trendy but refreshingly laid-back crowd. The staff is très attentive and eager to recommend their favorite potions. With packed houses especially on the weekends, don’t be surprised if it takes a few minutes for your drink to arrive. As I’ve learned, fabulous cocktails come to those who wait!

L’Experimental Cocktail Club, 37 rue Saint Sauveur, Paris 75002

Le Prescription, 23 rue Mazarine, Paris 75006

www.myspace.com/experimentalcocktailclub

Lead Photo: atl10trader

One Comment »

  • Sarah May said:

    :) I am glad you found this place. I personally miss ICE.

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